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Vodafone tax case: Govt messed up on policies, admits Pitroda

"We did mess up during the past few years on policies. We do realise that we need to be consistent in our policies. The Vodafone decision was one such decision sending wrong signals to the global community," Sam Pitroda said at a meeting organised by the local Congress unit here.

twitter-logo PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: March 19, 2014  | 20:39 IST
Vodafone tax case: Govt messed up on policies, admits Pitroda

Calling for consistency in policies, technocrat-turned-government adviser Sam Pitroda on Wednesday admitted that the UPA government "messed up" by sending conflicting signals through its decisions such as the retrospective taxation for Vodafone.

"We did mess up during the past few years on policies. We do realise that we need to be consistent in our policies. The Vodafone decision was one such decision sending wrong signals to the global community," he said at a meeting organised by the local Congress unit here.

Stating that there could be other cases too where the government might have gone wrong, Pitroda, credited with ushering in the telecom revolution in the 1980s, said this is an area that needs to be fixed.

The government's decision to resort to retrospective taxation to make the British telecom giant Vodafone pay over Rs 12,000 crore in capital gains for its February 2007 acquisition of Hutchison Essar after losing the court battle has been controversial.

Pitroda, however, asserted that with the right decisions, "we can bring back growth to the 8-10-percent-mark", which is the potential growth rate of the Indian economy. The government needs to be more inclusive in its approach while chasing this target, he added.

The country needs changes in policies in the human resources, administration and finance, he said, but also pointed out that many times compulsions of the coalition politics come in the way of the right decisions.

He also stated that the coming Lok Sabha elections are not about a person, but about conflicting ideologies.

India needs more younger blood in politics at the higher levels of governance, Pitroda, 72, said. Later, he clarified that he did not have Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in mind while saying this.

Openness brought about by the adoption of technology, coupled with legislation-based initiatives of the UPA such as the Right to Information embodies the "Gandhian philosophy of transparency", he said.

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